Awards and Announcements

Comings and Goings

  Dr. Valerie Whitney and Dr. Richard Kurth

Dr. Valerie Whitney and Dr. Richard Kurth

This summer, Dr. Richard Kurth completed his second term as Director of the School of Music. In June he published “A Letter, a Soliloquy, two Duets, and a Sextet,” his reflections on the School and his time at the helm.

Following in his footsteps for the 2018-19 academic year is Dr. Alexander Fisher, in the role of Acting Director, and Dr. John Roeder, as Associate Director for term one, and Dr. Keith Hamel, Associate Director for term two.  Thank you, Dr. Kurth, and welcome, Drs. Fisher, Roeder, and Hamel!  

Dr. Valerie Whitney joined the School of Music as Assistant Professor of Horn , starting in the 2018-19 academic year. An accomplished performer and teacher, Dr. Whitney will play a leading role in the brass division at the School of Music. Her duties will include undergraduate and graduate studio instruction, brass chamber music coaching and coordination, and brass curriculum leadership — all while working in partnership with our accomplished team of VSO principals and other top professionals in the city.

Sessional lecturer and alumna Dr. Laurel Parsons (MA’91, PhD’03) recently accepted a full-time position as Associate Teaching Professor of music theory and aural skills at the University of Alberta.

Beyond the Gates: The Western Canadian Music Awards, a B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame induction, Bands tour, and more

  Robert Taylor, Nancy Hermiston, and Turning Point’s Jeremy Berkman

Robert Taylor, Nancy Hermiston, and Turning Point’s Jeremy Berkman

This November, Prof. Nancy Hermiston was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame alongside renowned tenor and School of Music alumnus Ben Heppner (BMus’79). Prof. Hermiston this year also received the Faculty of Arts 2017-18 Dean of Arts Award, the most prestigious award that the Faculty bestows on a colleague, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to creative research, teaching, and service to UBC and the broader community. As part of the award, she was bestowed with the title of Professor Emerita.

In October, composer and instructor Jocelyn Morlock (MMus’96, DMA’02) won Classical Composer of Year at the 2018 Western Canadian Music Awards. The award is the latest highlight in a big year for Morlock that also includes a Juno Award for Best Classical Composition for her orchestral work, “My Name Is Amanda Todd” and the Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award from SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada).

The WCMA Classical Composer category was dominated by faculty and alumni from the School of Music’s vibrant Composition Division, including Morlock, Prof. Keith Hamel, and Prof. Stephen Chatman.

In March, Director of Bands Dr. Robert Taylor and the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble were invited by peers to perform at the College Band Directors National Association regional conference held at Sonoma State University. The tour included residencies with several of the San Francisco Bay Area’s top high school bands, and culminated in a featured performance at the Green Music Centre’s acoustically-stunning Weill Hall.

Harpist and adjunct professor Elizabeth Volpé Bligh was featured on the cover of Harp Column and interviewed in a story about her long and varied career as a teacher and performer.

This fall, Dr. Terence Dawson, chair of the keyboard division, partnered with soprano Theresa Plut from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia to give two recitals sponsored by the Honorary Consul of Slovenia, Dr. Margaret Rudolf. The recitals featured songs of Strauss, Mahler and Wolf as well as Slovenian composers Benjamin Ipavec, Anton Lajovic and Vasilij Mirk. These concerts were in addition to Prof. Plut's work as a visiting scholar with voice and opera students and in the Collaborative Piano classes of both Dr. Dawson and Prof. Rena Sharon.

In June, the award-winning Turning Point Ensemble — which features UBC faculty members Brenda Fedoruk (flute), Jeremy Berkman (trombone), Ingrid Chiang (bassoon), and School of Music admissions manager Katherine Evans (trumpet) — toured Asia, performing concerts in Taiwan, Beijing, and Singapore. Turning Point also performed this year at the New Opera Days Ostrava Festival in the Czech Republic, where they premiered The Mute Canary by composer Rudolf Komourous.

At the Spectrum in Brooklyn, New York, Prof. Corey Hamm performed Frédéric Rzewski’s hour-long solo piano epic The People United Will Never Be Defeated! as the first of a series of concerts celebrating Rzewski’s 80th Birthday year. While in New York he gave a piano masterclass at NYU Steinhardt.



Catching Up with Our Students: UBC students tour with the National Youth Orchestra, the Opera ensemble visits the Czech Republic plus more

  Simran Claire

Simran Claire

Six School of Music students and alumni, including Eva Toncheva (BMus’18), violin; Madelynn Erickson, violin; Nina Weber, viola; Emily Richardson, flute; Carlos Savall-Guardiola, clarinet; and Lukas Hildebrandt (BMus’18), percussion, have been accepted to the 2018 National Youth Orchestra of Canada. This summer they embarked on an exciting Canada-European tour, with stops in Ontario and Quebec and in Germany and Scotland.

John Stetch has won the BC Canadian Music Centre’s Pentland Prize, a $1,000 scholarship awarded annually to a graduate composition student at UBC, SFU, or UVic. You can read more about Stetch and his unique synthesis of jazz and classical music here.

Mezzo soprano Simran Claire (BMus'18, current MMus student) has won a position with the Glimmerglass Ensemble and will begin performing with the ensemble in June 2019.

  The UBC Trumpet Ensemble in San Antonio

The UBC Trumpet Ensemble in San Antonio

Members of the UBC Trumpet Ensemble — Dasa SilhovaWilly WangMatheus MoraesErica Binder, and Shira Adam — were selected to participate in the International Trumpet Guild of Miami, Florida in June. They travelled to San Antonio from May 27th to June 3rd, attending valuable workshops, lectures, masterclasses and concerts. 

The UBC Opera Ensemble had a successful tour to the Czech Republic this past summer, where they performed Rossini’s Italian Girl in Algiers in Teplice, Decin and Jablonec. They returned to Vancouver in August to performed an evening of opera and operetta excerpts at Bard on the Beach. They were joined by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. 

Silverman Piano Concerto Competition winners Benjamin Hopkins, Evgenia Rabinovich, Ayunia Saputro and Aydan Con performed iconic concerto movements with the UBC Symphony Orchestra at the Chan Centre this September. Hopkins, the grand prize winner, performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, while Rabinovich, Saputro, and Con played movements by Beethoven and Mozart. Watch their peformances online.

At the 2018 BC Provincial Music Festival, BMus student Julia Johnstone won first place in the National Vocal Variety category and was the runner-up in the National Classical Voice category. MMus student Thomas Law was the runner-up in the National Woodwinds category, while BMus student Braden Eguia won Honourable Mention in the Senior Piano category.

PhD student Curtis Andrews and his world jazz ensemble, The Offering of Curtis Andrews, collaborated with legendary South Indian percussionist Trichy Sankaran this September. The concert, “A World of Rhythm,” presented music rooted in South Indian classical Carnatic music, with an exciting array of rhythmic exploration, improvisation and devotional compositions.

School of Music grads win big at OSM Manulife Piano Competition

 Carter Johnson

Carter Johnson

School of Music alumnus Carter Johnson (BMus’18) has just won the grand prize in the 2018 Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal (OSM) Manulife Piano Competition, with his outstanding performance of Prokofiev's Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26.

The prize includes a $10,000 scholarship, a performance with the OSM in January 2019, a professional broadcast on Radio-Canada’s ICI Musique, and concert opportunities with the Orford Arts Center, National Arts Center, Northern Arts and Cultural Centre, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and YOA Orchestra of the Americas.

 Nicole Linaksita

Nicole Linaksita

At the same competition, alumna Nicole Linaksita (BSc/BMus’16) won the Orford Music Prize, a scholarship covering accommodation and tuition for an advanced program at Orford Music in 2019.

During their time at UBC, Johnson studied piano with Prof. Mark Anderson, while Linaksita studied with Prof. Corey Hamm.

Congratulations, Carter and Nicole!

Jocelyn Morlock wins WCMA 'Composer of the Year' award

  Image: Break Out West

Image: Break Out West

This weekend, School of Music alumna and lecturer Jocelyn Morlock (MMus’96, DMA’02) won Classical Composer of Year at the 2018 Western Canadian Music Awards. The award is the latest highlight in a big year for Morlock that also includes a Juno Award for Best Classical Composition for her orchestral work, “My Name is Amanda Todd.”

Congratulations to Morlock and all of the WCMA nominees! The Classical Composer category was dominated by faculty and alumni from the School of Music’s vibrant Composition Division, including Morlock and professors Keith Hamel and Stephen Chatman.

Learn more about composition at UBC School of Music.

How to join a student ensemble

Large and small and incredibly diverse, our student ensembles range in size from trios and quartets to the 110-member UBC Symphony Orchestra. They play in dozens of traditions and styles, from Bach to Balinese Gamelan and everything in between. Learn more about our ensembles, below, then plan your audition


 UBC Bands.  Brian Hawkes/UBC

UBC Bands. Brian Hawkes/UBC

The UBC Bands program includes two ensembles that are open by audition to students in any major field of study: Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert Winds. Both ensembles are distinguished by their high level of performance, creative thematic programming, and commitment to contemporary music through commissions, premieres, and composer residencies. Learn more


There are five choirs in the UBC School of Music. All choirs are open to both music majors and non-music majors! Information on how you can join our ensembles is available here! University Singers (MUSC 153) is the premier choral ensemble in the UBC School of Music. This 40-voice ensemble performs the most advanced and exciting music for chamber choir written in the past few decades, as well as motets and other historically important works. Learn more


Under the direction of renowned Canadian coloratura Nancy Hermiston, UBC Opera is a 90-member company that stages three ambitious operas every year. Recent performances include The ConsulLe nozze di FigarCarmen, La Bohème, and Don Giovanni. Learn more

Symphony Orchestra

The UBC Symphony Orchestra (UBCSO) is a 110-member orchestra that performs symphonic works from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, giving several concerts during the year, both on and off campus, often featuring soloists. The Orchestra also performs with UBC Opera, and in a annual choral work performance with the University Singers and UBC Choral Union. Learn more

 Africa Music and Dance Ensemble.  Takumi Hayashi/UBC

Africa Music and Dance Ensemble. Takumi Hayashi/UBC

African Music and Dance

The UBC African Music and Dance Ensemble (UBC AMDE) was founded in September 2009 by Ghanaian ethnomusicology professor Dr. Kofi J. S. Gbolonyo. The ensemble, which is also a course (MUSC 165D/565D) focuses on music and dances from Africa and specializes in repertoire from West Africa region. Learn more

Balinese Gamelan

Sekaha Gong Gita Asmara was formed in 1996 to explore and present Balinese arts in Vancouver, BC. The 25-member (plus dancers) orchestra has a partly rotating personnel made up of professional, amateur, and student musicians, centered around a strong core membership that has been performing in the ensemble for two or more years. Learn more

Contemporary Players

UBC’s Contemporary Players (CP) strive to perform some of the most exciting works of the 21st Century, including works especially written for them right now, plus Classics from the late 20th Century. CP plays numerous concerts every year at UBC’s Barnett Hall and also in such other venues as the Belkin Art Gallery. Learn more

Early Music

The UBC Early Music Ensemble is a mixed instrumental/vocal ensemble specializing in the performance of music from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras. It provides students with an opportunity to approach aspects of historical repertory and performance in an intimate, practical setting. Learn more


The aim of the jazz ensembles is to gain an appreciation and understanding of jazz in its many forms. The music studied and performed ranges from the early works of Duke Ellington to contemporary jazz rock fusion and even elements of free jazz. The ensembles perform up to six concerts per year and may include one or two guest artists each season. Learn more

Korean Drumming: P’ungmulp’ae San Param

 Korean Drumming Ensemble.

Korean Drumming Ensemble.

The P’ungmulp’ae San Param ensemble, meaning “Korean folk drumming troupe Mountain Breeze”, is open to all UBC students, regardless of degree program. It offers the opportunity to engage in a year-long practical study of the Korean tradition of folk drumming and dance known as p’ungmulLearn more

Laptop Orchestra

The UBC Laptop Orchestra is an ensemble in which students code their own computer instruments or audio/video processes. Students compose solo, small ensemble and full group works, and are expected to perform or provide technical support in all works. Learn more


 Laptop Orchestra.

Laptop Orchestra.

This ensemble performs music for the vast spectrum of percussion instruments, including original works from the 20th century, transcriptions of familiar classics, and traditional dance music from Africa and Latin America. The group also encourages the creation of new repertoire for percussion ensemble by student composers. Two concerts per year are scheduled in the Roy Barnett Recital Hall, in addition to other off-campus activities. Learn more

Meet Dr. Valerie Whitney, Assistant Professor of Horn

  Photo: Valerie Whitney

Photo: Valerie Whitney

The UBC School of Music is pleased to announce that Dr. Valerie Whitney will join the faculty as Assistant Professor of Horn, starting in the 2018-19 academic year.

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Valerie Whitney as she joins our faculty. Valerie is an accomplished and versatile performer, and an adept and knowledgeable teacher, and our brass faculty are enthusiastic to support the new energies and initiatives she will bring to brass studies at UBC," said Dr. Richard Kurth, Director of the School of Music.

A graduate of Wheaton College and Northwestern University, Dr. Whitney regularly appears with some of the nation’s most esteemed performing organizations, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She joined the South Bend Symphony as Third Horn in 2017, after serving the orchestra as Assistant Horn for five years. She also holds the fourth horn position with the Lake Forest Symphony in Lake Forest, Illinois, and is a member of the Millar Brass Ensemble and the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra Society. 

WATCH: Dr. Valerie Whitney performs David Sampson's Sonata No. 40

Dr. Whitney will play a leading role in the brass division at the School of Music. Her duties will include undergraduate and graduate studio instruction, brass chamber music coaching and coordination, and brass curriculum leadership — all while working in partnership with our accomplished team of VSO principals and other top professionals in the city.

"Valerie will be a wonderful colleague for all full-time, adjunct, and sessional faculty members in the Winds Brass and Percussion Division, and I'm thrilled that she is joining us!" said division chair Dr. Robert Taylor.

“I am delighted to join the UBC family, and excited to work alongside the excellent faculty and students to further the exceptional learning environment in the School of Music. I look forward to joining the campus activities and the broader UBC community in the Fall!” Dr. Whitney said.

Audiences in Vancouver will have the opportunity to see Dr. Whitney perform live during the upcoming School of Music concert season. On Nov. 21st she and other members of the School of Music faculty will perform Dohnanyi’s Sextet in C major, Op. 37 for Piano, Clarinet, Horn and String Trio at Roy Barnett Recital Hall. Dr. Whitney will perform a solo concert on Jan. 23rd, 2018, also at Barnett Hall. Both concerts are part of the Wednesday Noon Hour concert series.

Welcome to UBC, Valerie!


Valerie Whitney has been performing in and around the Chicagoland area for over a decade. She regularly appears with some of the nation’s most esteemed performing organizations, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

In 2010, she was invited to serve as guest principal horn with The Florida Orchestra for two weeks. From 2013-2016, she served as hornist of Fifth House Ensemble, during which time she performed and led masterclasses at nationwide universities as well as educational programs in various Chicago public schools and community centers. In 2017, Dr. Whitney was the first candidate to earn a DMA in Horn Performance from Northwestern University. She is a graduate of Wheaton College and Northwestern University.

Dr. Whitney joined the South Bend Symphony as Third Horn in 2017, after serving the orchestra as Assistant Horn for five years. She also holds the fourth horn position with the Lake Forest Symphony in Lake Forest, Illinois, and is a member of the Millar Brass Ensemble and the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra Society.  

The Gift of Music

  Photo: Dina MacDougall

Photo: Dina MacDougall

The School of Music unveils rare, newly refurbished harpsichord — thanks to support from a generous donor.

This March, the School of Music unveiled one of the jewels of our instrument collection: a newly renovated double-manual harpsichord modeled on an 18th-century German original. Harpsichordist Alexander Weimann, along with violinist Chloe Meyers and viola da gamba player Natalie Mackie, showcased the new addition with a special concert at Roy Barnett Recital Hall featuring the works of German Baroque composers.

“Bach, Muffat, Buxtehude and Schmeltzer — it was the perfect repertoire, I think, to demonstrate what makes the instrument such an important and beautiful addition to the School,” says Professor Alex Fisher, who helped organize the renovation and the concert. 



LISTEN: Bach's Sonata in G major for gamba and harpsichord, as performed by Alexander Weimann (harpsichord) and Natalie Mackie (viola da gamba)

Craftsman Craig Tomlinson built the harpsichord by hand in the 1980s, based on the original German design by Christian Zell (1728) that is preserved today in the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg. Celebrated for its rich sound and variety of different tone colours, Tomlinson’s masterful replica had begun to show its age and needed some significant improvements.

A generous donation by Marlene Yemchuk, in honour of her son David Yemchuk (B.Sc. 2010), made the renovation possible.

“In the fall of 2016 Marlene and I began discussing a donation in the memory of David, an alumnus of the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who was an avid and talented musician in his own right,” Fisher says.

“After consulting with a variety of local performers and experts, we decided that the donation’s greatest impact would be to fully renovate the Zell harpsichord, which over the years had fallen into disrepair.”



LISTEN: Buxtehude's Sonata in A minor for violin, viola da gamba, and continuo, as performed by Weimann, Mackie, and Chloe Meyers (violin)

In addition, the generous donation also made possible some improvements to a second harpsichord by Ken Bakeman that is heavily used by students and faculty.

In his renovation of the Zell harpsichord, Tomlinson kept its original case, its lovely keyboards made of ebony and bone, and its beautifully painted soundboard, but completely restored the harpsichord’s action. He restrung the entire instrument, adjusting its regulation and voicing, rebuilt the stand on which it rests, and painted the entire exterior of the instrument in a deep black with gold bands. The finishing touch was the addition of a small plaque in David’s memory, inscribed with the phrase Musica Lieta Dono Divino (“Joyful Music: The Divine Gift”).

The result is, in Weimann and Fisher’s opinion, perhaps the finest instrument of its kind in Vancouver and the entire region.

“As a musician and devotee of early music, I can say that it an incredible gift to have such an important and beautiful instrument at the School. Thank you to Marlene and Craig!” Weimann says.

* * *

As one of the most beautiful instruments in the region, the Zell harpsichord needs a custom-made cover that will protect it from scuffs and scrapes and keep it in top condition. If there are early music enthusiasts out there who might be interested in making a small donation towards this commission, we would be extremely grateful for any support!

Please contact Prof. Fisher if you're interested.



SLIDESHOW: A closer look at the renovated harpsichord

Catching Up With Our Students

 Carter Johnson

Carter Johnson

BMus student Carter Johnson won the 2018 UBC Concerto Competition for his performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26, with MMus student Carlos Savall-Guardiola taking second prize for his rendition of Francaix’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 36. Watch Carter perform his concerto with the UBC Symphony Orchestra here.

Fourth-year BMus student Kurt Ward-Theiss, baritone, and first-year BMus student Jonathan Lopez, clarinet, received bursaries from the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir. Kurt and Jonathan performed in the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir Celtic concerts on St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Maple Ridge and at Christ Church Cathedral. The Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir Student Bursaries advance the ensemble’s mission of collaborating with and supporting youth choirs and soloists in our community.

 Antares Boyle

Antares Boyle

PhD candidate Antares Boyle won the Society for Music Theory’s prestigious SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship for her dissertation project, “Formation and Process in Repetitive Post-Tonal Music,” which theorizes how musical segments, processes, and larger forms arise in recent post-tonal works that feature extensive varied repetition. The $3500 fellowship recognizes and fosters excellent research in music theory by helping highly qualified Ph.D. students to complete their dissertations.


DMA student Emily Logan and Faculty of Medicine student Danielle Olmstead will present their abstract titled “Injury management and health care access in university-level musicians and athletes: a comparative study” at the 2018 Performing Arts Medicine Association’s International Symposium at Chapman University this summer. Emily studies with Prof. Terence Dawson.

 Mia Gazley

Mia Gazley

This winter, BMus student and saxophonist Mia Gazley won the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble (PSWE)’s Youth Soloist Competition! Mia will perform with PSWE at Evergreen Cultural Centre on June 9th, 2018. She was also one of eight recipients of the Faces of Today Award at UBC’s Student Leadership Conference in January. The awards “recognize outstanding student leaders for their sustained leadership achievements and their efforts to innovate, improve and shape the life on and off campus.”


DMA student Benjamin Hopkins won the grand prize at the inaugural Robert and Ellen Silverman Piano Concerto Competition in March! Nine students competed in a thrilling evening of piano concertos at Roy Barnett Recital Hall, with second prize going to DMA student Evgenia Rabinovich, third prize to BMus student Ayunia Saputro, and fourth prize to BMus student Aydan Con. The prizewinners will perform with the UBC Symphony Orchestra on September 23rd, 2018 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Benjamin will perform his winning interpretation of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, while the other prize winners will have the opportunity to play at least one movement of their concerto with the orchestra.

 Carlos Savall-Guardiola

Carlos Savall-Guardiola

Carlos Savall-Guardiola won the 2018 Royal Over-Seas UK Scholarship for a BC Emerging Musician. Auditions were held in Barnett Hall on Saturday, January 20. This summer, as part of his scholarship, Carlos will perform in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He will also receive lessons from prominent teachers in the UK. 

BMus student Liel Amdour won the Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award, which is presented annually by Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto to a promising young Jewish artist (instrumentalist or vocalist). The prize is $2,500 and a concert recital in Toronto. As Liel points out, “It is extra exciting because my teacher at UBC, Dr. Daniel Bolshoy, received this award in 1996. He has been a fantastic supporter of my journey.” Liel’s concert will happen on June 13th, 2018 in Toronto. She will also play a recital for the Vancouver Classical Guitar Society Emerging Artist Series on May 19th.

BA (Music) student Chantelle Ko received the Interdisciplinary Award at the recent UBC Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference for her innovative Touch Responsive Augmented Violin Interface System (TRAVIS), the capstone project for her minor in Applied Music Technology. For the project, supervised by Dr. Bob Pritchard, Chantelle added soft potentiometers and force sensing resistors to one of her violins, for the control of audio and video triggering, synthesis and processing, while using traditional performance techniques.

PhD student John Lai presented his conference paper “Lotus, Blossom, and Dream: Octatonicism in Toshio Hosokawa’s Lotus under the Moonlight: Hommage à Mozart” at the West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis in April at San Diego State University.

* * * 

Students in the School of Music’s Ethnomusicology Department have been incredibly busy. Following is news of four PhD students in ethnomusicology who are all currently immersed in writing dissertations as well as involved in various kinds of public culture and performance projects outside of their academic work. Their activities testify to UBC School of Music’s presence in many kinds of musical and cultural scenes worldwide. 


Bali, Indonesia
Jonathan Adams
and current visiting artist I Putu Gede Sukaryana (Balot) co-founded Insitu Recordings on the island of Bali in September 2016. Since the project launched, they have released 14 albums of new and traditional gamelan music. This includes five volumes in their unique Insitu Sessions series, which are recorded and released in HD video. In February of this year they launched a companion digital publication: Insitu Recordings Magazine. The magazine gives greater context to the wider world of gamelan music, exploring imagined centers as much as their peripheries, and is a medium through which established voices can be shared with younger people and/or those outside the rather inward-looking realm of Balinese gamelan. The first issue can be viewed here. The project was recently featured on Nerhera Sounds SOAS Radio London, which can be streamed here.

 Julia Ulehla

Julia Ulehla

Czech Republic
PhD student Julia Ulehla leads the Dálava project with her husband, guitarist Aram Bajakian (MMus’17). Dálava is an homage to traditional Moravian (Czech) folksong, sourcing melodies transcribed over 100 years ago by Julia’s great-grandfather Vladimir and reanimating them in an avant-garde, post-rock musical language. With support from UBC’s Public Scholars Initiative, Dálava recently released a new record called The Book of Transfigurations (Songlines Recordings, April 2017) that has garnered considerable critical acclaim: “Every now and then an album appears that is so overwhelming and so intense that it is hard to put into any category….. Saying that The Book of Transfigurations is a masterpiece is not an exaggeration” (Bas Springer, fRoots, August 2017). The Province included Dálava on its “10 best live concerts in Vancouver” list, while The Chicago Reader’s Peter Margasak named The Book of Transfigurations one of his top 40 records of the year. In October, Julia was invited to speak about Dálava at Womex in Katowice, Poland, where she also gave interviews for the BBC and Norwegian Radio. Dálava will appear at several major international music festivals in 2018.

 Eshantha Peiris

Eshantha Peiris

Sri Lanka
Before coming to UBC to study ethnomusicology in 2014, Eshantha Peiris co-founded the after-school music education program Musicmatters in Colombo, Sri Lanka. One of the projects initiated by the staff of Musicmatters was the Transcoastal Collective; this collaboration with musicians from the formerly war-torn district of Batticaloa was inspired by the folk music of that region. Eshantha’s current research examines the social history of a Sri Lankan tradition of ritual drumming that has undergone changes in musical vocabulary in the twentieth century. 

 Curtis Andrews.  Photo: UBC

Curtis Andrews. Photo: UBC

Curtis Andrews
 has been connecting to communities in Ghana since his first visit there in 1999. He is currently based in the village of Dagbamete, in southeastern Ghana, where, for his PhD dissertation, he is studying the connections between vodu, music, and culture. Curtis has been supporting educational development in the area since 2007, co-founding the Dzogadze Education Development Foundation, which assists deserving students with their educational needs.

Beyond the Gates

The latest news from School of Music faculty

Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestras Jonathan Girard has been named a Peter Wall Institute Wall Scholar for 2018–19. As one of nine scholars “tasked with finding new approaches to critically important questions,” Dr. Girard will work with 2017 Peter Wall Institute Visiting Artist Deborah Carruthers on a graphical score for orchestra, and has plans to commission new orchestral works that explore sonic expressions of climate change.

 Prof. Nancy Hermiston (right) at Canada Music Week

Prof. Nancy Hermiston (right) at Canada Music Week

In November, the Canadian Music Centre honoured Professor Nancy Hermiston with a Barbara Pentland Award of Excellence for the UBC Opera’s many commissions, performances, and support of Canadian music.

Composer and Sessional Instructor Jocelyn Morlock (MMus’96, DMA’02) won the 2018 Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year for her orchestral work, My Name Is Amanda Todd. The 10-minute composition honours the memory of the Port Coquitlam teenager who died tragically in 2015. Watch Jocelyn and Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother, talk about the piece, and her daughter's legacy.

WATCH: Jocelyn Morlock's Juno Award speech

Sessional instructor and harpsichordist Alexander Weimann was nominated alongside Arion Orchestre Baroque for the Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year (Large Ensemble). Their album, Rebelles Baroques, is hailed for the "clarity and freshness of [its] interpretations" and attention to detail. Weimann is the Principal Artist and Director of the School of Music's Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program.

Sessional lecturer and saxophonist Julia Nolan joined the West Coast Symphony Orchestra for its 2018 Balkan Tour, which includes stops in Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro.  The tour will feature music by composers from Canada, the United States, Kosovo and Macedonia, including a reprise of Saxophone Concerto by composer and alumnus Stefan Hintersteininger (BMus’04, MLis’09).

Adjunct professor Elizabeth Volpé Bligh retired from her position as Principal Harp with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in January 2018, after 36 years. Her former student Lani Krantz (BMus’00) became Acting Principal Harp in her place, until auditions can be held for the role. Bligh will also continue to perform with the VSO occasionally.

New research and publications


Professor Alexander Fisher contributed a chapter entitled "'Mit singen und klingen': Urban Processional Culture and the Soundscapes of Post-Reformation Germany" to In Listening to Early Modern Catholicism, edited by Daniele V. Filippi and Michael Noone, 187-203. Leiden: Brill, 2017.

Prof. Fisher also presented a number of talks: "Bells and Apotropaic Magic in Reformation Germany" at the Early Modern Research Cluster, University of British Columbia, in December; "Shattering the Lightning: Bells and Magic in Reformation Germany" as part of the series Worlds of Wonder at Green College, UBC in February; and “Musicalische Friedens-Freud: The Westphalian Peace and Music in Protestant Nuremberg" at Rethinking Europe: War and Peace in the Early Modern German Lands, the triennial meeting of Frühe Neuzeit Interdiziplinär in St. Louis this March.

Professor John Roeder gave a keynote address, entitled “Comparing Musical Cycles Across the World,” at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Music Scholars Conference in Tucson, Arizona. He gave two talks at the Society for Music Theory’s annual conference: “Interactions of Folk Melody and Transformational (Dis)continuities in Chen Yi’s Ba Ban” and “How to create meter and why.” Prof. Roeder also guest lectured at the Eastman Theory Colloquium at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

Assistant Professor Ève Poudrier presented a talk entitled “The Influence of Grouping and Tempo on Subjective Metricization” at the recent Auditory Perception, Cognition and Action Meeting in Vancouver this past November. 

Professor David Metzer presented a new talk, “Ballads: A History of Emotions in Popular Culture,” at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas this March. Adapted from his latest book, The Ballad in American Popular Music: From Elvis to Beyoncé, the talk explored how feelings are understood and experienced in popular culture at particular moments through the lens of soul and power ballads.

The School of Music’s Rhythm Research Cluster held two symposia this term. The first, “Modeling Rhythmic Complexity, explored intersecting tools and methodologies from the fields of music information retrieval, computational analysis, and experimental psychology, for application to the study of complex rhythmic structures. The second, “Microtiming and Musical Motion,” explored some of the “kinetic aspects of microtiming—including groove and flow in popular music—as well as some new methods and compositional applications of microtiming analysis.”


Assistant Professor Claudio Vellutini received a UBC Hampton Endowment Research Fund New Faculty Award for his book project, “Entangled Histories: Opera and Cultural Networks between Vienna and the Italian States, 1815–1848.” He also published an essay, "Opera and Monuments: Verdi's Ernani in Vienna and the Construction of Dynastic Memory,” in the Cambridge Opera Journal.

Dr. Brandon Konoval presented his paper “The Disenchanted Flute? Music, Max Weber, and Early Modern Science" at the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science in Toronto last May. His article "Pythagorean Pipe Dreams? Vincenzo Galilei, Marin Mersenne, and the Pneumatic Mysteries of the Pipe Organ" appeared in the February 2018 issue of Perspectives on Science.

Instructor Jocelyn Morlock wins Juno Award for Best Classical Composition

Congratulations to composer and sessional instructor Jocelyn Morlock (MMus’96, DMA’02), winner of this year's Juno Award for Best Classical Composition!

Jocelyn's My Name Is Amanda Todd, a 10-minute composition for orchestra, honours the memory of the Port Coquitlam teenager who died tragically in 2015. Jocelyn and Amanda's mother, Carol Todd, spoke about the piece, and Amanda's legacy, at the ceremony:

Two other UBC School of Music faculty and alumni were nominated for 2018 Juno Awards for their excellent work:

Alumnus Fraser Walters (BMus ’03) and his group The Tenors received a nod for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for Christmas Together, which "captures the joy and magic of the season, combining a mix of holiday classics, contemporary favourites and original songs." This is The Tenors' third Juno nomination — they won the same category in 2013. 

Sessional instructor and harpsichordist Alexander Weimann is nominated alongside Arion Orchestre Baroque for Classical Album of the Year (Large Ensemble). Their album, Rebelles Baroques, is hailed for the "clarity and freshness of [its] interpretations" and attention to detail. Weimann is the Principal Artist and Director of the School of Music's Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program.

Congratulations, Jocelyn, Fraser and Alex!